Midlife Realisations: A Colourful Awakening
We’re all looking for something, right? Well, something happened to me just before the birth of my first child, Melissa. She’s 3 (and-a-bit) now and we’ve also got a 7-month old boy (Jay). The ‘something’ that I’m referring to started early in 2011. It coincided with my wife telling me that we were going to have a baby.
Over the course of that year, certain truths became apparent. It wasn’t anything spiritual. It was more like a fog had lifted and I was seeing things in a different way. Things that had always been there, but that I’d been too busy, too caught up in myself, to pay enough heed.
I made a list of the truths, primarily because I’m a bit of a nerd, but also in the hope that somebody somewhere might benefit from them. Especially if they’re thinking about opening a business. One more thing, I wanted to be a bit different in how I portrayed my thoughts… so I chose colours instead of numbers, to list the summary points.
I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, I’ll say that much. But as you read through the colours below, you’ll see why that doesn’t really bother me– any more.
I need to recognise what I have influence over and understand that focussing on things outside of my influence, is wasted energy. Completely wasted.
Time is not flexible. I shouldn’t lament that I haven’t enough time to do things; time passes by at the same rate for everybody on this planet, yet others manage to find the time, don’t they? No, I have plenty of time, but I choose to spend it doing other things. Those things usually result in enriching somebody else’s life. I need to stop doing that.
I need to help myself. I cannot wait for somebody to ask if they can help me. I’m not 10 years old any more.
I won’t let anybody tell me what I can or cannot do ever again, as long as I do the right thing for me and my family, in line with the values that my parents bestowed upon me.
I won’t follow the course of life and see where it leads me. I’ll make a plan, print it out and put it somewhere I’ll see it every day. I’ll follow it.
If you don’t have a plan, you’ll become part of somebody else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
Think about that one for a minute or two if it doesn’t sink in straight away.
It’s entirely possible that destiny (believe in destiny, or don’t… only time will tell) will see me ending up wherever I was meant to end up, regardless of what I do or don’t do; but I have to at least put myself in the way of opportunity to hear the knock.
I’ll sketch a picture of what success looks like, and print it out. I’ll hang it beside my plan.
I’m blessed enough to have a really good friend, I’ll tell him what I’m going to do when I retire. I won’t just say “I’ll retire to the Sun”. I’ll make it real and specific.
I’m going to die. While there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet, I can’t live as if I’m going to be around forever. How many years have I left on the planet? I need to make them count. For all I know, I might have more years behind me than I have in front of me. I’ll always miss the shot I never took.
Why aren’t I doing what I want to do? Did somebody tell me that, when I was too young to remember?
I need to stop trying to impress people who I used to depend on, years ago. Yes, I may still need them; but not in the same way as before.
I need to be more empathetic, but never to the extent where somebody else’s needs get prioritised over my own.
When I want something, I need to ask myself ‘how badly do I want it’.
Children are born either introvert or extrovert, risk takers or risk averse. When I have children, I’ll never encourage them to ‘be quiet’ or be ‘as good as gold’. I’ll let them be themselves. I’ll tell people if they’re introvert. I’ll tell people that’s o.k. –That’s what I would have wanted.
I need to ask more people for help and favours.
I’m always ‘nice’ to everybody. How has that worked out for me? Did my ‘niceness’ over the last 40 years set my career on fire, or help me in business? I’ll use my ‘niceness’ more sparingly and only show it to those who display it towards me.
I sometimes say that I don’t care about what other people think of me, but I do. Maybe it’s human nature to want to be accepted. Maybe from a survivalist and evolution point of view ‘caring what people think’ serves a larger purpose.
‘My cave is bigger than yours, not that I care’. Why get a bigger cave so?
There’s no doubt that money is a key driving force for me. It’s the vision of what the money can do for me and my family that I really want; not the money for money’s sake.
I’m not an expert in everything. I know a lot about many aspects of many things. I need to stop trying to cover all the bases. To stop trying so hard—for other people, especially.
I need to leave behind my insecurities. Forget about needing to cover all the angles and answer all the questions. I will never know everything about everything. Nobody will.
Stop getting distracted. Jot down distractions and decide whether to follow up on them after I’ve finished what I’m doing. Don’t act on them straight away. Chances are, they won’t be as important when I read them tomorrow.
I’ll watch one Ted talk every day, for a year. Or at least read the transcripts.
It’s possible to find an excuse to not do almost anything. Now that, I’m good at. But I don’t want to be, any more.
I want to write a book? How long would that take? Who would read it at each stage? Who would review it? What if it’s crap? Who will publish it? Guess what– nobody cares. Just write it already.
I will get over my irrational fear of speaking in public. If it means practicing in front of a mirror, meditating, a visit to a psychiatrist or a psychologist, medication or counselling… I don’t care any more. Whatever it takes, I’ll try it.
I’ll be kinder to myself. Nobody would ever say the things about me, that I sometimes say to myself.
I’ll start telling people how I feel. That should be interesting.
What’s your favourite colour?
Jon Ryan is the Owner at Glickly. A Website and Marketing Consultancy Business. Almost 20 years of experience in Large Corporation. Copywriter. Author with Up.co. Resourceful. Enthusiastic.